The Cowardly Lion

I was thinking about this character from the Wizard of Oz today.  He wanted to see the Wizard to ask him for some courage.  I don’t need courage as much as I need confidence.  This is because I have known for a few weeks that I would be presenting at this year’s San Diego Area Writing Project Spring Conference.  At first I was honored and excited that I was selected.  Then, I felt nervous and anxious about the whole thing.  However, it didn’t really hit home until this morning.

This morning I attended a follow-up meeting with my summer cohort.  We did some writing work in the morning.  Each of us participated in an activity where we shared resources, ideas, and experiences with everyone in the room.  We did this by writing on a piece of chart paper that was divided into 4 quadrants.  Every person in the room had a page that we passed around the room.  In the first quadrant was the issue we wanted help with.  Mine was on how to get my students to write opinion pieces with more substance.  As the pages were passed around, each person wrote something down in one or more of the sections.  We kept passing until we eventually got our chart paper back.  I really enjoyed that activity.  I believe it is something I could do with my 2nd graders.  When it was all over, I received some wonderful ideas on my chart that I could try in my classroom next week.

Next, I met with the four other teachers who will also be presenting on March 1st.  We received coaching from Christine Kane, co-director of SDAWP.  I looked around at everyone in my group and marveled at their confidence.  Why am I so nervous?  Why can’t I just be cool and relaxed like the other four?  Maybe my brain is not wired for that.  Perhaps I am missing some chemical in my brain that can help relieve my anxiety.  I suppose I am nervous because I don’t want to let anybody down.  My cohort believed I could do this, and I don’t want to disappoint anyone.  Public speaking is not my forte.  I was not expecting to be selected as a presenter.  I am more of the set up the chairs and tables kind of person.  I like working behind the scenes, but I also know this experience will be good for me.  It is something I have always wanted to do.  I have attended many workshops and presentations and wondered if I could do that.  Now, I have a chance to find out if I can.  I think it’s just like with everything I attempt for the first time.  I become more comfortable after I get the first one under my belt.  This is the same feeling I get when I am participating in a triathlon.  The swim portion always makes me nervous even though I have done it many times before.

I know I can do it.  I just need to remember to breathe.  There is no wizard to give me the courage/confidence for this.  I will need to find it in myself, just like the lion had all along.  Maybe I will have to take a shot of liquid courage (Tequila?) before the presentation to help me through.  No, that would not be good.  I guess I will just wait until after my presentation is over to take that shot.  🙂